Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He’s Changed His Mind About Kids. Should I Date Him Now?”

Ten months ago I went through a horrible break up, that was a drain on me emotionally and financially. While everything was falling apart I moved in with a friend of a co-worker who was renting a room. We hit it off as friends and eventually became physical. (Stupid, I know!). I developed feelings for him, and after telling him how I felt he said that he couldn’t see a long-term relationship together because I don’t ever want children.

Each time we’d have this conversation (about twice over six months), we would step back from the physical contact and just remain friends and roommates. I dated a handful of times but without fail we would fall back into the same routine. Around New Years we had the conversation again but this time I realized I really had to move on as it wasn’t healthy. We still continued living together and remained close but on a friendship level only. We had a conversation about how we would each feel if the other started dating seriously and set boundaries to make sure we were both comfortable with the living situation. A few times where alcohol was involved we would sleep together but we no longer slept in the same bed, or kissed and hugged when leaving or coming home.

A few months ago I met a great guy who has potential. I was upfront with my roommate and gave him warning one weekend when the new guy would be staying over. He seemed fine with it and was extremely nice to my new guy. Right after the new guy left, my roommate confessed his love for me and asked me if we could attempt a real relationship with each other. He said that after seeing me with this guy he realized he had been fighting his feelings for me and wasn’t sure at this point if he even wanted children so that initial problem was no longer an issue.

I’m so confused because I feel like his emotional switch is due to jealousy not necessarily wanting to be with me. I have a fear once the feelings of jealousy go away he will change his mind about wanting to be with me or worse, we’ll attempt the relationship and down the road he’ll realize he does want children and it will be heart-breaking! I have expressed these fears to him and he said he’s willing to wait while I figure it out. I don’t know if I should give this a chance or just MOA and work on building a solid relationship with the new guy. Any perspective at this point will be a huge help because it’s eating me up inside. — Worth the Risk?


Well, first thing’s first: you’ve got to move out of your apartment. Regardless of whether you decide to date your roommate, date the new guy, or just take a break from dating altogether, your living situation needs to change. Clearly, the two of you can’t be just roommates. You can’t even be just roommates and friends. Every time you’ve tried that, you’ve ended up back in bed together, and even if you both woke up tomorrow and decided you’re perfect for one another and want to give a relationship a real shot, you’d want at least a little emotional distance that living apart would provide if for no other reason — but there are plenty of other reasons — than to keep a little mystery as you continue getting to know one another.

But, let’s be honest here: you aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and decide you’re perfect for one another. Even if we took this new guy completely out of the picture — and for clarity’s sake, I think we should — a relationship with your roommate has disaster written all over it. All this time, all these chances you’ve given each other, and it’s only when he sees you with someone else he realizes he has feelings for you? Lame! And come on: how’s he gonna change his mind about wanting kids over the course of six months? That’s the part that would really scare me. If he changed his mind this quickly now, who’s to say he won’t change it back again in another six months  — especially since he hasn’t really changed it at all, but has simply decided he “isn’t sure” what he wants. Oh, how convenient!

Here’s what I’d say to that: “Well, when you decide with absolute certainty you don’t want kids, then we’ll talk, because I know what I want and I know what I don’t want and love is risky enough without putting my heart on the line for someone who just ‘isn’t sure.'” And then move out and live your life. If that means dating this new guy and seeing where things go with him, great. If it means dating around a little and not committing to anyone just yet, that’s fine too. If it means taking a break from the dating scene and focusing on yourself, go for it. But what I would not advise is waiting around for your roommate to make up his mind once and for all. He’s kept you on the line long enough and it’s time you hopped off and moved on already. There are plenty men of men out there who do know what they want, that’s there no point in putting your faith in one who doesn’t. MOA, sister. It’s time.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

38 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TheGirl April 18, 2011, 9:29 am

    PLEASE MOA, LW! All the sudden he says he ‘ISN’T SURE’ he wants to have kids? The kid issue is one of life’s non-negotiables. As a member of the never wants to have kids club myself, please trust me that this is an enormous red flag and the absolute WORST possible thing to try to compromise on. (Wendy, we clearly need that list!) From the sounds of your letter, your previous conversations indicated that he was pretty into the idea of kids. Its highly unlikely that desire has changed so dramatically in six months and if that’s the case, you two are just going to end up making each other miserable.

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    • avatar

      spot April 18, 2011, 11:03 am

      agree that a list of non-negotiables would be great!

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR April 18, 2011, 9:30 am

    You and your roommate have tried to make it work for over six months, but it never has, even when you’ve expressed your feelings for him. Now that you’ve found someone else, he’s all of a sudden has these feelings for you that he’s never shared, and those dealbreakers from before aren’t dealbreakers?

    You know that’s just a ploy to get you to drop this other guy. If your roommate had feelings like that for you before, he would have told you or done something about it. His timing of waiting until you were dating another guy (and seeing you happy with that guy) is just because you being interested in someone else is a blow to his ego. He’s “jealous” not because he wants you, but he doesn’t want anyone else to have you.

    Like Wendy suggested, move out of your current living situation. Not only can you not really get past all of this, but your roommate clearly doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Maybe you and he can be friends after that, but time will tell.

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    • avatar

      thedude April 18, 2011, 12:55 pm

      Sometimes it takes a little jealousy for a guy to realize they are interested. been there.

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  • avatar

    Emjay April 18, 2011, 9:31 am

    I agree with Wendy. This is not an ideal living situation. I also agree with the letter writer that this is about jealousy, not about “loving her”. Move on, focus on yourself, and than think about giving yourself to another person. And I do definately think you need to move out and distance yourself from this roomate. And then your real feelings about what is going on will emerge.

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  • avatar

    RoyalEagle0408 April 18, 2011, 9:44 am

    MOA.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG April 18, 2011, 10:01 am

    If he REALLY changed his mind about not having children, what else has he done, other than tell you? It’s no wonder you doubt your roommate’s word; he’s not only waffling on children but also his feeling towards you. If he doesn’t have a vasectomy on the calendar to show respect on your stance and to demonstrate his commitment, it’s time to MOA to the second power – move on already and move OUT already.

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    • avatar

      Traveler April 18, 2011, 1:56 pm

      If she is the one who doesn’t want children. The permanent birth control is her responsibility not his.

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      • avatar

        TheGirl April 18, 2011, 2:01 pm

        Birth control is both partner’s responsibility.

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        Traveler April 18, 2011, 2:09 pm

        I agree completely. Birth control is both partners responsibility in any ongoing relationship. But, if I don’t want to have kids, it is on me to ensure that I don’t get pregnant whether that is through abstinence, less than 100% effective birth control, or the more permanent tubal ligation. This would also be true for any man, if a man does not want to have kids it is on him make sure he doesn’t get someone pregnant through those same methods – abstinence, less than 100% effective birth control, or the more permanent vasectomy.

        Expecting anyone you have had off and on sex with for less than six months to alter their body for you is not reasonable.

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity April 18, 2011, 2:26 pm

        I totally agree that it would be unreasonable to expect that. However, I took the original comment here to mean that it’s really hard to believe this guy has truly changed his mind about having kids, not that the LW should actually expect the guy to get snipped if he has changed his mind.

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    fallonthecity April 18, 2011, 10:42 am

    I agree with Wendy – move out!!! There is no way you can have a healthy perspective on this while you’re living with the dude.

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  • Heather

    Heather April 18, 2011, 10:45 am

    Don’t have anything to add, just absolute agreeing with what Wendy and everyone else said. Move out. Not saying he’s a bad guy, but seriously, it’s pretty apparent he’s just jealous LW.

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  • avatar

    cdj0815 April 18, 2011, 10:46 am

    “Well, first thing’s first: you’ve got to move out of your apartment.”
    Wendy all while reading the letter, I was thinking the same thing. Once LW move out, I believe she will be able see things a little more clearly.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie April 18, 2011, 9:48 am

    This issue is HUGE and not likely to go away. I had the problem of not wanting any and in my dating years and most of the women did. This was the reason that several potential relationships ended. While the result was a lot of loneliness, I felt it unfair to put myself, her and the children in a conflicting situation. Now I have some regret but better that then being a lousy father to a child that deserved better.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle April 18, 2011, 11:01 am

    this line right here bugs me:

    “I have expressed these fears to him and he said he’s willing to wait while I figure it out.”

    LW, you have nothing to figure out. You have it figured out. He needs to figure out his own mind if he wants kids or not.

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    • avatar

      TheGirl April 18, 2011, 11:06 am

      So true! Everything in this letter makes me think the LW already has her answer, but wants confirmation from us. Well, honey, you’ve got it. MOA!

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    • avatar

      callmehobo April 18, 2011, 11:10 am

      I read that line as him saying-

      “I’m willing to wait until you come to your senses and realize that since you are a woman, you will eventually want children”

      This is a recipe for disaster. I suggest hitting craigslist and finding a new apartment.

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      • avatar

        TheGirl April 18, 2011, 11:11 am

        Ha! Funny, mostly because in my experience, that is what 90% of people out there think of a girl that doesn’t want to make babies…

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        callmehobo April 18, 2011, 11:27 am

        I know, right?

        If a woman is like- “I don’t want to have children”, everyone clucks “Oh, just wait till you feel your clock ticking! You’ll come around…etc” or some other patronizing drivel.

        Personally, I know that someday I hope to have children, but some women just know that they don’t want to be mothers. It’s ok to not want kids!

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      • avatar

        hana April 18, 2011, 1:01 pm

        For a very long time I was adamant that I didn’t want kids. Now I do, although I still have doubts sometimes, because I am with someone who would make such a great father instead of the jerks I dated before.
        I am not at all saying this will happen to LW, just that it is ok if you want kids, don’t want kids and if you change your mind about *before marriage/the child is born*

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      • avatar

        HmC April 18, 2011, 1:39 pm

        Of course, changing your mind, going back and forth etc. on something this big is completely your prerogative and entirely understandable (so long as you’re sure about having them when and if you do). *However* that is completely different than making your dating decisions based on the hope that someone will change their mind.

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        SpyGlassez April 18, 2011, 9:25 pm

        I know that for years – all through my 20’s, in fact – I was adamant that I didn’t want kids. I got the same reaction. But it was because I wasn’t at a place to be a good mother emotionally or psychologically, and I had no one in the picture to be a father. Now I am with someone that I would like to have kids with, but I am still certain that having kids any younger would have been a disaster.

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    Kerrycontrary April 18, 2011, 11:22 am

    Omg! Move out! Move out yesterday! Why haven’t you moved out already? Let me ask you something? If you started dating someone you wernt living with, would you move in with them in a week? No! So why would it be a good idea to continue a relationship with your roomate? Plus his last move was totally manipulative and jealousy-fueled. Take Wendy’s advice and move out so you can figure out what you want.

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    • avatar

      Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 18, 2011, 1:02 pm

      “move out yesterday” so true!

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  • avatar

    LolaBeans April 18, 2011, 11:41 am

    Omg!!!… Move OUT!!
    if you’re on a one year lease, sublet it! Give your 60 days notice and get the heck out of there. Even sublet for those next 60 days.
    If you don’t have the cash to pay first/last for a new place, try subletting someone elses place too.
    if living with your parents for a month or two is an option, take it.
    I feel like your living situation is a complete disaster.. and it will only hinder your life and lifestyle more if you stay.

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  • avatar

    jena April 18, 2011, 11:48 am

    In this case, the MOA should stand for Move Out Already. Nothing about this situation is healthy for you, mentally.

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      kali April 18, 2011, 12:46 pm

      In which case, this is a double MOA: Move Out Already and Move On Along! NOW!

      I think if the most rtecent overnight guest doesn’t work out, LW may need a period of alone time to get to know herself and get her head straight. It’s amazing how freeing and revitalizing taking a breather from dating can be.

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      • avatar

        jena April 18, 2011, 4:03 pm

        The fact that she had to clear the overnight guest with the roommate just screams “NEITHER OF YOU ARE OVER THIS” to me. Eek.

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    HmC April 18, 2011, 12:02 pm

    LW, just because someone suddenly professes their love for you, doesn’t mean they are any less wrong for you than months of drama and rejection has proven them to be. Life is not a crappy rom com. True love with good partners does not need to be cajoled out of people through jealousy. This guy had plenty of opportunity to start something healthy with you and he blew it. Nothing significant has changed other than you have attempted to move on, which you should continue to do now. And yes, move out asap.

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka April 18, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I don’t think I need to say it again, but I will: MOVE OUT.

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  • meadowphoenix

    AB April 18, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Other than agreeing with all of the above, I think you should consider this:

    If you were to start dating, don’t expect things would get better. If you know his annoying habits, don’t expect that he will suddenly try to stop them for you. Dating him will change your relationship, but it may not make it more stable or secure. What you see is what you get with most people, especially your roommates, and all he’s given you so far is drama and uncertainty. Take step back and take a good long hard look at what your relationship with him would really be like, if you two starting dating, not the idealized and unrealized version you probably have in your head.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom April 18, 2011, 1:32 pm

      What you see is what you get. So true, so true! The fantasy in the head is rarily the reality on the ground.

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  • avatar

    Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 18, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Move on and move OUT.

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  • avatar

    hana April 18, 2011, 1:08 pm

    I agree with everyone else that you should definitely move out and probably MOA.
    This guy is definitely acting like a baby and a tool. Why did you continue to live with him the first time you broke up? I couldn’t do that.

    The ONLY reason I say probably move on is because it is your life and your decision. If it were me, I would move on. Find someone who treats you better.

    If you feel deep down that you want to give him another chance you know what to expect. But at least if you do give him another chance living on your own will give you space to reflect on the way he treats you. Just don’t get sucked in to the vicious break-up/make-up cycle. That is not healthy. Also, if you decide to try a relationship with him and you’ve moved out don’t be crashing at his place/vice versa for a very long time! Make him earn it.

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  • avatar

    Maracuya April 18, 2011, 1:48 pm

    When a relationship works, there’s no ‘off and on.’ It just works, and you yourself know that this one is not working.

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  • avatar

    WatersEdge April 18, 2011, 2:47 pm

    If you REALLY want to see how he feels about having kids, ask him conversationally to tell you all the reasons that he wanted them, “back when he thought he wanted kids”. You’ll see his face light up at the thought of a kid that looks like him, and he’ll start listing all the reasons why he wants them, and then you can feel certain that you are making the right choice.

    Unlike other commentors, I don’t think this guy doesn’t have true feelings for you. I think that this is how people act when they like someone, but there is a clear dealbreaker on the table. I’m sorry to say that this relationship could never work. Find someone else who doesn’t want kids- they’re out there!

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  • avatar

    cdjd2614 April 18, 2011, 3:09 pm

    Kids aren’t like rental cars, they don’t have a return policy. If you are adament about not wanting kids then it’s best to find a guy who is on the same page as you and not one that is stilling chewing on the idea. Yes baby waves come and go but even when they aren’t in your face full force the want is still there so he might say “I don’t want kids” but what he more then likely means is “I don’t want kids right now.”

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